Following the weekend’s spectacular event Dave Rylatt, Chair of Wellington Carnival Committee, made the following statement:
“I have nothing but praise for the commitment of our few committee members for delivering a safe and well-organised event this year. The day didn’t start well when news broke on social media that one of the big clubs which support Wellington (Gemini CC) announced that they were unable to take part as their tractor unit had suffered a major technical breakdown. The chair of Gemini apologised for the breakdown and offered to send their road crew and cast to Wellington to at least help out in some way, be that collecting or marshalling. The club members were obviously devastated after a year’s work getting ready for carnival. Hopefully they will be back on the road soon.
Obviously I was disappointed Gemini would not be coming to Wellington, but it was obvious from the call that Wellington is an important diary date for this club – and that is important to me.
It is for the people watching to decide if it was a good carnival or not (I don’t get to see any of it). Gone are the days of 239 floats (in 1976). We are down to 60 entries this year, having lost 3 clubs. We are often asked why we accept so many majorette entries but the facts are fairly simple. Take out 8 majorettes groups which took part in the 2016 carnival and we are down to 52 entries.
Wellington Carnival Committee has decided as a policy that any youth group that wants to take part in our carnival can do so. As organisers, we can only provide an arena to attract clubs into our town; we try to look after them so they come back again. Rather than complaining about “too many majorettes” on social media, it would be preferable if people could build a float or contribute or volunteer some time that might actually improve the event. We have only one carnival club in the town which suggests there is apathy towards the carnival. We do our best to allow the event to continue but we cannot force clubs to come.
The initiative to sell novelty toys this year was extremely encouraging, and thank you to everyone in Wellington who worked with us. The merchandise was sold pre-carnival by three schools (Wellesley Park, Rockwell Green and Beech Grove) – and sales from these exceeded £1,000. There is very little stock left (which will be now passed on to Ilminster) which suggests the initiative paid off and should make a massive impact on the amount of money raised, which ultimately goes back to local groups and charities. This is our first year trying this, lots of lessons learnt, and lots more we could do (with a bit more help). Our thanks go out to every organisation that helped out. All will receive donations from carnival.
As well as organising a carnival, Wellington also played host to 40 members of Rochal Twirl (France), and 12 members from Torres Vedras Carnival (Portugal) so we can now claim to be providing Wellington with a truly international event. Our guests from France return home today. Many tears have been shed this morning from people who have loved their experience in Wellington so much they don’t want to go home. We are sure some of the pubs in town will miss our Portuguese guests too!”